Posts categorized as History

Coca-Cola celebrates centenary of the curvaceous Coke bottle

Coca-Cola bottle top

Dame Margaret Sparrow writes about the Coca-Cola bottle top on display in Te Papa’s exhibition Contraception: Uncovering the collection of Dame Margaret Sparrow (Illott Room, level 4). The Coca-Cola flavour was introduced by an American pharmacist in 1886 and sold in bottles from 1894. In 1915 a competition was held for a distinctive bottle which… Read more »

Amongst the many events happening this weekend during Wellington’s 150th birthday is the official unveiling of a plaque (below). The plaque commemorates 150 years since the founding of Te Papa’s predecessor, the Colonial Museum, and the role of James Hector in setting up and running the museum, amongst many other things. (Hector was an amazing scientific… Read more »

Writing ‘Gallipoli: The scale of our war’ – Part 3

  • Wall text in the 'Stalemate' section of Gallipoli: The scale of our war. Photograph by Kirstie Ross
  • 04- Chunuk Bair-001 machine gunners
  • 3D cinema Gallipoli exhibition
  • Lt Spencer Westmacott

How did you go with the Great War Word Quiz set by Te Papa’s Head Writer Frith Williams a few weeks ago? If you got 10/10, then you’re an A1 digger! Now read Frith’s latest blog in which she explores the challenges of writing from the soldiers’ perspective in Gallipoli: The scale of our war. The soldiers’ perspective:… Read more »

Berry Boys: The Magnificent Brownes

Daisy Browne wears an New Zealand Expeditionary Force 'sweet heart' brooch.

This family portrait has long been a favourite amongst the Te Papa History team. It stands out amongst the many Berry & Co soldier portraits due to the sitters’ magnificent winter dress. Draped in heavy woollen coats and luxurious furs, it is the one portrait in the collection that powerfully conveys a season. The portrait is simply inscribed ‘Brown’. As over 600 men with the… Read more »

History curator Michael Fitzgerald introduces Lieutenant Colonel Percival Fenwick, the second, larger-than-life figure encountered in Gallipoli: The scale of our war. The 45-year-old surgeon’s despair is palpable, as leans over Jack Aitken on May 4th 1915, knowing that he has been unable to save the fatally wounded Canterbury infantryman. Fenwick (1870–1958) was born in London where he qualified as… Read more »

Dirty deeds done dirt cheap! part two

  • detail Nayti The Saturday Magazine 1837
  • Two unidentified moko from the Blenkinsop Indenture. Deed of sale for Cloudy Bay from Te Rauparaha, Te Rangihaeata, et al to John Blenkinsopp October 1832. Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga (NZC133 24/1)
  • Deed of sale for Cloudy Bay from Te Rauparaha, Te Rangihaeata, et al to John Blenkinsopp October 1832. Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga (NZC133 24/1)
  • Deed of sale for Cloudy Bay from Te Rauparaha, Te Rangihaeata, et al to John Blenkinsopp October 1832. Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga (NZC133 24/1)

Stories from He iti whetū : Ngāti Toa portraits Ngā Toi Arts Te Papa: Kanohi Kitea Māori & Pacific Encounters THE BLENKINSOP INDENTURE The 1832 deed for the purchase of the Wairau valley from Ngāti Toa by Captain John William Dundas Blenkinsop. part two At the heart of the tragic 1843 Wairau Incident, mentioned… Read more »

You can’t sink a rainbow

GH011827; Badge, 'If it's safe'; 1980s; Unknown; Plastic wrapped printed paper and metal badge; metal; printing; New Zealand

History curator Stephanie Gibson looks back to the 1980s, and an explosive event that shook New Zealand. Thirty years ago, on 10 July 1985, French government agents attached bombs to the hull of the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior and sank it in Auckland Harbour. The French government had feared that the ship would draw attention to… Read more »

Pills, coils and condoms!


Since the beginning of time humankind has sought ingenious methods in an attempt to control fertility. This exhibition in the Ilot Room on Level 4 of Te Papa reveals a wide range of contraceptive devices and stories from the recently acquired collection of Dame Margaret Sparrow, one of New Zealand’s leading specialists and advocates on… Read more »

Marks on the Landscape: Researching the Māori carvings at Gallipoli

Image 11a

[This article was originally published in Te Papa newsletter, Te Auahi Turoa newsletter (3 July 2015) and has been reproduced here.] Kimihia, rangahaua, kei hea koutou ka ngaro nei? Tēnā ka riro ki Paerau, ki te huinga o Matariki, ka oti atu koutou e! Tangihia rā Te Ope Tuatahi i pae ki Karipori i te… Read more »

Gallipoli: The scale of our war – in poppies

Gallipoli: The scale of our war (c) Te Papa

‘This is very different from the unfeeling and emotionally distant historical coverage of a war. I felt a weight in my lower chest as I learned about the stories and suffering of the people, witnessed their rage and despair sculpted on their faces, and felt the ground tremble under my feet. I was immersed by… Read more »